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Another Earth (2011)
Not as clever as you (or the filmmakers) think
Apparently the film began as a kind of philosophical question posed by Britt Marling to the director about meeting yourself. While this might sound like an interesting topic of conversation over drinks, dinner or whatnot, and might make an interesting film, Another Earth isn't an interesting film. Its central characters are too remote as to make much of an impact in any event but spend most of their time looking dewy-eyed at each other. The filmmaking style is full of twitchy hand-held cameras and jump cuts that scream "independent filmmaking at its most thoughtful!" without really fitting the subject matter or themes. I wanted to like this film quite a bit, as the idea of a mirror earth is at least intriguing, but the film itself is more about the self-importance of upper middle class white than anything else.
The Man from Earth (2007)
Oh for Pete's sake...
This is a silly movie, the kind of "philosophical" text that might have worked on the Twilight Zone of the 1960s but is unavoidably dated now. It's central conceit -- it's about a caveman who grows up to be Jesus thanks to some extra nifty DNA -- never advances beyond flat speculation (most of the dialog is some form of "that's not possible!" and "maybe not... but what if it was?") and supposedly poignant familial connections. The acting is more or less solid, but all very television-y. Indeed, as the screenplay was written by someone best known for his scripts for Twilight Zone and Outer Limits, this probably would work better as a television movie, a trifle that HBO, Showtime or Lifetime would offer to fill out the programming day. But it's not a deep or particularly meaningful film -- unless you haven't seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, or even some of the better episodes of Lost.
Paranormal Entity (2009)
Bad even by Asylum standards
I watched this on Netflix instant watch one night out of boredom, and it's awful. Although the actor playing Samantha does her best, she is working with a crappy filmmaker who apparently decided to improvise the "frights" in the film. This means a lot of slamming doors and Shane Van Dyke yelling "OH MY GOD!!!!!!!" or "WHAT IS HAPPENING!!!!!! OH MY GOD!!!!!!!" Many of the plot points are identical to those in Paranormal Activity (demon that follows characters around, sleepwalking women, mysterious messages from the demon, something creepy in the attic, sudden shock ending). To be honest, the only thing this has that PA doesn't is naked breasts.
If the people associated with this video are wise, they will strike it from their resumes and deny that it ever happened.
A faithful adaptation, which means it misses the point
WATCHMEN is one of the most important texts of the 20th century. As a deconstruction of the concept of the superhero and a sharp analysis of the paranoia of the Cold War, it defines and diagnoses the period in which it was released. It also deftly demonstrates that the comic book can be a serious art form.
Zack Snyder gets the majority of the key moments from the comics yet misses almost all of the themes. For one thing, everything looks too perfect, too clean, too rendered by computers. Dave Gibbons' art was deliberately grungy, fitting the dystopian alternate America of the narrative. Night Owl and Silk Spectre come together because they're lonely old heroes -- they're out of shape and struggle to regain both the fire to fight crime and the timing and physical moves they used to know -- but Snyder makes them in-shape ass kickers capable of taking out thugs in an alleyway or murderers in a prison riot. The violence in the original was brutal but also frequently just suggested but Snyder makes sure we see people get their arms cut off or their teeth break.
The film is poorly cast, with only Jeffrey Dean Morgan grasping the narcissism that fuels the Comedian's desire to be a hero and his regret over his life and Jackie Earl Haley reaching the unsettled morality of Rorschach. Malin Akerman appears to be reciting her lines phonetically, Matthew Goode is a non-entity as Ozymandias, and Carla Gugino mugging underneath some of the worst aging make-up in cinema history. Bily Crudup is lost beneath mediocre CGI that makes his lips look like rubber bands wavering near where his mouth should be.
That said, it moves pretty well and is entertaining enough, I guess, and Morgan's best moments capture exactly what Moore was going for. It's worth watching... but as an adaptation of a comic book miniseries that is a must-read, that's not good enough.